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Carbon Budget Model

The Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) is an aspatial, stand- and landscape-level modelling framework used for international reporting of the forest carbon balance of Canada’s managed forest. It is the central component of Canada’s National Forest Carbon Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System (NFCMARS).

Stylized identifier of the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector.
The CBM-CFS3 and self-guided training (in English only) are available for free download.

The CBM-CFS3 uses forest management information provided by users, to calculate forest carbon stocks and stock changes for monitoring or projection purposes. Tools in the model assist with importing required data from user-developed data files specifically formatted for the CBM-CFS3, or from common timber supply models such as the Remsoft® Spatial Planning System™. Users of the model can create, simulate and compare various forest management scenarios to assess impacts on carbon. By considering the effects of planned activities on forest carbon stocks and stock changes, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increases in carbon sequestration and storage are possible.

The CBM-CFS3 simulates the dynamics of all forest carbon stocks required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

  • aboveground biomass
  • belowground biomass
  • litter
  • dead wood
  • soil organic carbon

The CBM-CFS3 complies with carbon estimation methods outlined in the 2003 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Good Practice Guidance For Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry, and the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

CBM-CFS3 results

Forest managers can use the CBM-CFS3 to:

  • create different forest management options, compare carbon results and select the plan that best meets their objectives
  • observe the carbon results of forest management actions in individual stands and decide whether to apply those actions to an entire management area
  • assess potential future changes to ecological conditions in forest management areas by modifying ecological parameters and climate data

CBM-CFS3 results can be used for various types of forest ecosystem carbon reporting requirements. In Canada, forest managers can use this computer model to report on forest carbon contributions to global cycles to comply with sustainable forest management guidelines. Additionally, results can be used to report on forest carbon when applying for / or maintaining forest certification or for determining forest carbon offset project baselines and future carbon stocks or stock changes. While the CBM-CFS3 does not track the fate of carbon in harvested wood products (HWP), it does track the amount of carbon harvested annually in a forest products pool. These results can be exported for further analyses in HWP carbon models.

Download the CBM-CFS3 and self-guided training

The CBM-CFS3, supporting documentation and self-guided training package (in English only), are available free for download from the Canada’s National Forest Information System (NFIS) website.

If you have a NFIS account:

  1. Select your jurisdiction and enter your account username and password
  2. After logging in, select a link on the Canadian Forest Service Carbon Accounting Tools page:
    • CBM-CFS3 version 1.2 is the latest version of the model, documentation and self-guided training
    • CBM-CFS3 Archived Versions are obsolete versions of the model and documentation
  3. Click on the names of any file of interest to download

If you do not have a NFIS account:

  1. click on the “Account Registration” button under the “New to NFIS” section
  2. create an account and profile
  3. login using your new account information
    • your login authorization and language selection will be stored using cookies

About the CBM-CFS3

Development of the CBM-CFS started as a science project in 1989. In 2002, the forest carbon accounting team, in partnership with the Canadian Model Forest Network, responded to the need for a user-friendly operational-scale forest carbon accounting tool. The tool helped:

  • the forest industry meet the criteria and indicator reporting requirements of sustainable forest management
  • the forest industry meet reporting requirements for forest certification
  • forest managers understand how their actions affect the net carbon balance of their forest estate

Two model forests, the Lake Abitibi Model Forest and the Western Newfoundland Model Forest, were pilot sites for developing and testing the CBM-CFS3. As development proceeded, other model forests and their partners from across Canada contributed to development through the testing of a beta-version.

In 2005, a release version was made available free of charge to the forestry community along with a user’s guide and tutorials.

Supplemented with information from national ecological parameter databases, the CBM-CFS3 uses much the same information as is required for forest management planning:

  • forest inventory
  • tree species
  • growth curves
  • yield curves
  • natural disturbance information
  • human-induced disturbance information
  • forest harvest schedule
  • land-use change information

Ecological parameters appropriate for Canada are the default; however, they can be modified, thus enabling the use of the CBM-CFS3 in other countries.

To help users prepare data, define scenarios, perform analyses, and examine results, the CBM-CFS3 contains graphic user interfaces in

  • English
  • French
  • Polish
  • Spanish
  • Russian

Have questions?

Please contact Stephen Kull if you:

  • have questions about the CBM-CFS3
  • require technical support for the computer model
  • want to be notified about software releases or updates, training, webinars, new publications, etc.

Find out more

Canadian Forest Service Publications

Related information

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